Jan 10, 2019 - Food and Drink

Photo tour: How to eat and drink your way through the Ritz in 24 hours

Whether you’re visiting the Queen City or just need an epic staycation, the Ritz is the place to be if you want a luxurious, food-filled weekend.

I recently burst out of my typical Charlotte bubble to spend a night at the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown and experience their culinary and beverage offerings. I did it all in roughly 20 hours.

From breakfast to cocktails to excellent steak dinners, you’ll find everything you need (or want) without stepping outside. While I highly recommend an overnight stay, you can enjoy many food and drink options without being a guest.

Here’s a look around.

Honor Bar

Having never been inside a room at the Ritz, I was blown away by its beauty.The rooms were recently renovated and include visions by Alexander Julian, who designed the original Charlotte Hornets uniforms.

The re-imagined Honor Bar is the first thing you see when you walk through the door, and it was definitely built to impress.

On its shelves, you’ll find locally-sourced spirits (including an exclusive bottle of Great Wagon Road Distilling Company’s signature Rua whiskey), classic liquors, bottled mixed drinks, and local snacks.

After stopping to admire the magical in-room bar, we stumbled across a few goodies including a little snack plate, macarons, and a custom sugar cookie. Our food-filled weekend was off to an excellent start.

K Lounge

At 5:30pm, we made our way downstairs to the K Lounge (the Ritz’s lobby bar) for drinks and snacks.

Dimly lit and plushly decorated, this section of the hotel is a popular destination for both walk-in guests and overnight visitors.

The cocktail menu is comprised of creative drinks including “flask cocktails” which are served in hand-blown glass flasks for one or two.

The K Flask – Maker’s Mark, fresh cranberry, ginger syrup, Hellfire bitters ($16, flask for one)

K Lounge is also home to an Enomatic wine machine, which allows them to preserve and offer exclusive wines by the glass that other bars may not serve.

Although dinner was creeping up on us, we had to try a few bites, so we went with both fried vegetable options.

Portions were pretty solid so if you felt like posting up for the evening, you could easily make meal out of your visit.

Tempura Mushroom – pumpkin seed aioli, arugula ($12)

Pro tip: K Lounge offers a Bloody Mary bar Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM -2 PM.

BLT Steak

I’ve visited BLT Steak on a few occasions and have always left completely happy and unbelievably full. Our dinner was no exception.

The meal started with BLT’s signature popovers and an amuse-bouche of chicken liver paté and, spoiler alert, ended with another complementary item (this time a fabulous brownie bite).

BLT’s signature popovers with gruyere cheese, served with salt and butter
Tuna Tartare – avocado, soy-lime dressing ($17)

Steak lovers can choose between perfectly cooked hanger, filet, rib eye, NY strip, short ribs, wagyu skirt, or porterhouse.

Ribeye (14 oz.) – $54

Non-beef eaters have their fair share of options, too – rosemary chicken, rack of lamb, and several seafood dishes, including the highly recommended Sautéed Dover Sole for $56.

Sides are served family style at $11 each with the exception of a baked potato with truffle oil for $12 and Hen of the Woods mushrooms for $14 (we got these and they’re delicious).

Brussels Sprouts with bacon ($11)

Don’t forget your drinks. Try something from the CBD oil cocktail menu (bravo to BLT Steak for hopping on the trend).

The Punch Room

I’ll never forget my first visit to The Punch Room almost three years ago, chatting with the now-Charlotte-famous Bob Peters and sipping on his incredible cocktails.

Alas, Bob has moved on to new adventures, but I’m happy to report the cocktail game is still strong up on the 15 floor of the Ritz.

We were first greeted with little glasses of daily punch and crispy seasoned tapioca pearls with garlic sauce to snack on.

Crispy seasoned tapioca pearls with garlic sauce. Served complementary.

Creative Director of Bar Operations Ryan Nolen has crafted a list full of cocktails that sound somewhat intimidating yet still fantastic, so it took us a while to choose.

We went with one punch and one signature shaken drink.

Gulf Air – lime leaf, avocado leaf, charred jalapeno, orange, lime, Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, Centenario Plata Tequila ($19)

As our drinks disappeared, we were surprised with a beautiful macaron tower.

Assorted macarons – $11

We wrapped up our evening around 11pm but not before selecting the next day’s breakfast choices and hanging the order on the door.

Room Service                 

Breakfast in our room may have been the biggest treat of the weekend.

The Ritz’s in-room breakfast service is full of options but we went with the smoked salmon, brioche french toast, and bacon.

A nice Bruce Julian Bloody Mary made with the mix and vodka from the Honor Bar would have been an excellent addition to this meal. However, we were a little boozed out from the night before, so we went for coffee instead.

Smoked Salmon – capers, cucumbers, tomatoes, egg, pickled onion
Brioche French Toast – blueberries and syrup

Bar Cocoa

We stopped by Bar Cocoa when we arrived to say hi to newly-appointed Pastry Chef Hannah Neikirk but circled back before departing to pick up goodies to take home.

Everything at Bar Cocoa is stunning – it’s very difficult to pick just one treat. Cupcakes, entremets, cakettes, macarons, cookies, chocolates… seriously, good luck.

If I had any room left in my stomach, I absolutely would have grabbed a cone of gelato for the road (or sandwiched it between two cookies for $5) or ordered a cappuccino for a little pick-me-up. Guess I’ll have to go back.

As we begrudgingly headed toward the exit, one last edible experience caught my eye – “Treat yourself! Please enjoy our doughnut bar!”

Ugh. Don’t mind if I do.


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